This duo from the UK, comprising Jonny Lisners and Andy Lysandrou, go back a long way in dance music. Lysandrou was a budding young DJ, into hip-hop, acid house and hardcore, sharing rosters with Pete Tong and Tim Westwood among others. New broadcasting laws enforced in 1989 led to him being banned from the airwaves for five years, but he used this period to set up Boogie Beat Records, servicing dance floors with jungle and hardcore. From here he set up Ice Cream, an independent UK garage label, and was responsible for Double 99’s searing cut ‘R.I.P. Groove’, recognised by many as a great example of early UK garage. Lisners is the man behind Jonny L. , and wrote ‘Hurt You So’, a rave classic of 1992. A disastrous car crash left him without any sensation in his left hand, but he put this to good use as he financed a studio with the compensation. Signing to XL Records, he concentrated on producing quality drum ‘n’ bass, most notably the club favourite ‘Piper’. The two Jonny L. albums, Sawtooth (1997) and Magnetic (1998), established him as one of the genre’s main players with their brooding, minimal textures.
The two began True Steppers in 1998 with a re-release of ‘Hurt You So’, before joining forces with ‘R.I.P. Groove’ star Top Cat for ‘Beng Beng’. What really catapulted the duo to pop star status was ‘Buggin’’, a collaboration with Dane Bowers (ex-Another Level) that proved a popular tune with the UK garage crowd. The following ‘Out Of Your Mind’ blew up a storm of publicity for the duo, Bowers and guest vocalist Spice Girls’ Victoria Beckham as they ran a fierce head to head chart battle in 2000 with Spiller’s ‘Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)’. True Steppers lost the fight, the result a UK number 2 single, but they ultimately won the war with their assured debut True Stepping. Packed with guest vocalists, including Brian Harvey, Donell Jones, Kele Le Roc and Neutrino, the record struck that rare combination of polished pop and underground sensibility.